Are you an entrepreneur looking for business advice to help your company thrive? In this article Andrew Dark, Director and Co-Owner of the custom clothing retailer Custom Planet, shares a few tips that will help you bring your brand to life in the digital age. Having a solid and ambitious digital marketing strategy is one of the best ways to both strengthen your brand and boost your profits. You don’t have to think about it too much to see why this method of marketing is so important. There are 4.6 billion active internet users as of January 2021 — over half of the global population (Statista).
But having a digital marketing strategy is about more than getting access to this huge pool of potential customers. Giving your business an online presence will help you establish a solid brand identity, which can in turn make your brand more recognisable and boost your revenue.
Despite the well-documented benefits of having a solid digital marketing strategy, many businesses fail to invest enough time into planning one. In fact, one report found that 44% of the companies questioned did not have a defined digital marketing strategy (Smart Insights). If you’re in the same boat as the owners of these businesses, the good news is that it’s never too late! The following digital marketing tips can be used to establish your brand identity and help your business thrive in an increasingly online world.
Nail down your brand personality
A vital component of establishing your brand identity is finding your ideal brand personality. Not only does this make you stand out from your competitors, but it will ensure your messaging and content remain consistent, which in turn makes your business seem more reliable. Take some time to consider the type of personality you want for your brand, and audit your existing website, social channels, and marketing materials to see whether they’re delivering this identity.
Authenticity is something that is valued by many consumers these days. One survey found that 86% of respondents cited authenticity as a deciding factor of whether they’ll support a brand (Stackla). To build an authentic image, you may want to create a down to earth and relatable brand personality. You can do this by posting behind the scenes content, and giving customers a glimpse into everyday life in your workplace.
Don’t be afraid to inject a dash of fun and levity into your branding, either. Humorous brand personalities tend to do very well these days, especially online. For example, Netflix frequently posts memes and other entertaining content using shows and films on their social channels to make their consumers laugh while subtly advertising what they have to offer (Econsultancy).
However, be sure to think long and hard before making a big switch. Your brand identity should not be changed too often — consistency is key, or you risk confusing and alienating your existing customers. I would only recommend making major changes if you’re 100% certain it’s time for a shake-up.
Build an attention-grabbing social media presence
Having a social media presence is a great way to find new customers. A poll from Sprout Social found that a whopping 55% of consumers find out about new brands via social media. As the UK is home to 53 million active social media users as of January 2021 (which equates to 77.9% of the population), there is clearly great potential to reach out to new customers (Statista).
But that’s not all that social media is good for. It can also be used to gain insights into your existing customers, as well as keeping them up to date with the latest products and company news. You can do this by posting picture reveals of new stock, hosting Q&As with your followers, and asking customers what they would like to see from your business next.
You can also use social media to incentivise followers by hosting giveaways and competitions. This is a great way to spread the word about your business, as you can ask customers to share your post or social media profile to be in with a chance to win. And as your social media engagement goes up, you’re more likely to get noticed in comparison to brands with smaller followings.
When it comes to choosing prizes for giveaways, the best thing to gift is one of your bestsellers, as this will give the winner the best impression of your business. Or, if you’d like to give the winner more choice, you may want to provide them with a gift card for your business instead. You can also gift them custom-made merchandise, such as a T-shirt, beanie, or tote bag, to spread brand awareness.
Make an impression — and boost SEO — with quality content
While social media content is important for reaching consumers and keeping current customers engaged, it isn’t the only digital channel you should focus on. It’s important to produce a variety of content to reach consumers in multiple ways. One particularly effective form of content is publishing blog posts on your website. Writing engaging and informative will impress your customers and establish your brand as an expert in your field, which gives you an advantage over competitors who don’t do this.
Running a successful blog can also improve your site’s SEO by increasing contextual relevance for popular keywords. If you have no knowledge of SEO, it’s a good idea to hire someone with an understanding of it so that you can start to see results quicker. Or if you’d rather, there are a number of online courses that you can take to get a grasp of the subject.
As well as writing blog posts for your own website, you may also want to consider doing guest posts for other blogs. This is a great way to reach new customers, and it’s also great for forging new business connections too. It can also give your site’s backlink profile a boost, which can be great for SEO. Just make sure to be selective when choosing who to guest post for. It might go without saying, but you should avoid writing posts for your direct competitors, and try to avoid collaborating with websites with low domain authorities (unless they’re incredibly niche) as this can damage your brand. It’s also crucial to avoid reciprocal linking, as search engines can penalise this sort of activity, meaning it’s detrimental to your site’s SEO.
Prioritise customer interaction
Being responsive online is great for both your customers and your business. Many consumers prefer reaching out to businesses online: one study found that just 32% of respondents preferred contacting businesses via telephone as opposed to online methods, including live chat, social media, and email (Kayako). Plus, offering online contact points makes your business more accessible for customers who can’t reach you via telephone.
If you don’t already have one, it’s a good idea to set up a live chat for your website to answer customers queries throughout the day. You don’t have to be too tech-savvy to set this up either, and there are many free live chat widgets available too. And don’t forget to regularly monitor your social media messages to keep the response wait time down.
Of course, interacting with potential customers is about more than just responding to their messages and answering their queries. Actively engage with customers by encouraging them to comment on your posts and engage with them this way. A good way to encourage this type of engagement is by posing a fun question or doing a poll on your customers favourite products. As well as building a connection with your customers, you get to know more about their needs and wants too.
Having a strong digital marketing strategy is a great way to reach new potential customers and connect with current ones. If you use the digital marketing tips above, you should be able to form a strategy that works for you. For more advice and tips to help you on your entrepreneurial journey, make sure to check out the rest of the articles at The Successful Founder.
About Andrew Dark
Andrew Dark is the Co-Founder of Custom Planet, a branding and printwear specialist based in Newcastle upon Tyne. He founded the company with business partner John Armstrong in 2008 while still at university, using just £600 of their own money. Since then, the company has gone from strength to strength, and Andrew has learnt many lessons about building a brand and running a business, from managing staff to adapting to customer demand.